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India’s AI industry – Why is talent crunch such a spoiler?

| TEchnology


Artificial Intelligence or what’s known as AI is making news every day. As I go through the recent advancements being made in the field, I wonder what does our future hold? Whilst, AI has been subject to a fair share of debates including concerns around machines overtaking, or even replacing the human workforce, here’s something we can’t deny, eventually one day it will. But, ground realities suggest something poles apart – an acute shortage of skills to fill those gaps.

AI talent Scarcity In India

Scarcity of Talent

One of the biggest roadblocks in the active adoption of AI is the sheer scarcity of skilled professionals. There are simply not enough data scientists to interpret massive amounts of data that are generated every day, a service that cognitive computing can offer. Further, since the skillset of a data scientist needs to constantly evolve along with technology, the demand-supply gap is only growing further.

Globally, all good AI talent goes to the big four: Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Facebook that include inbound hiring, hiring from colleges, poaching it from each other and rest of the big tech companies, and acquire-hiring young companies.

For e.g., Google acquired Bengaluru-based AI start-up Halli Labs in July this year and Hyderabad-based TupleJump was acquired by Apple last year. Other big and small tech companies are left to pick from people who have a basic understanding of deep learning with requisite math skills and then groom them over few months through training and development.

Today, the talent hiring in AI is centered around solving for one use case at a time, which is, focusing on specialized AI solutions to understand how customer adapts to a particular AI instead of general AI solutions that can multi-task. For instance, WhatsApp knows what the next word you would type and it shows that since it uses AI.

Moreover, 40 percent of India’s data scientists are involved in IT (services) followed by computer software and financial services with 28 percent and 17 percent respectively. Apart from actively scouting in these sectors, AI talent would be tough to come across even on LinkedIn. Nonetheless, scrolling through research authors, patent holders in AI-related areas and building your own technology background to attract possible talent in your network might find you good AI prospects if not the best talent.

Rising budgets

Successful companies regularly process high volumes of data to extract meaningful insights. Particularly in retail, businesses are deploying AI analytics to make sure the right product is in the right place at the right time.

Overall, industries are expected to experience more AI use cases in the near future, from digital shopping assistants in retail to carefully curated teams in sports, and factory automation systems in manufacturing.

Let’s create an environment to encourage the growth of Artificial Intelligence.

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